Will bring vaccine for lumpy skin disease in six months: Hester Biosciences

Rutam Vora Ahmedabad | Updated on October 13, 2020 Published on October 13, 2020

All cattle to be administered vaccines once a year as long as the endemic stays in India

Animal healthcare major Hester Biosciences Limited is eyeing to launch a vaccine for the Lumpy Skin Disease (LSD) in animals within the next six months. The vaccine is currently in the trial stage.

The disease is infectious among cattle, and is caused by the LSD virus of the Genus Capripoxvirus from the family of Poxviridae. Currently, there is no treatment for the disease.

Speaking to BusinessLine, Rajiv Gandhi, MD of Hester Biosciences Limited, said, “We have already developed the vaccine and are right now doing the trials for safety and efficacy. Our trials have shown extremely encouraging results. Within six months we will be launching the vaccine.”

Hester is currently the only company in India with an LSD vaccine under development.

Also read: Lumpy skin disease becomes worst nightmare for farmers in a dozen States

One of the symptoms of the disease seen in Indian cattle is inflammation of the skin. In other countries, the disease is characterised by fever, nodules on skin, enlarged lymph nodes, emaciation (shrinking of the cattle), and oedema of the skin (water retention in skin), among others.

According to scientists, animals of all age-groups are vulnerable to the disease. Once developed, the vaccine has to be administered to all healthy animals irrespective of their age, once every year, for as long as the disease is categorised as an endemic in the country.

After its first appearance in Africa in 2015 and 2016, the disease spread to South-East Europe, the Balkans and the Caucasus.

Hester, which is also engaged in vaccine development for brucellosis disease, sees vast business potential for the LSD vaccine. “We haven’t worked out the commercials of the vaccine. So, can’t comment on the business potential at present. But this is one of the biggest opportunities for Hester that has come our way in recent times,” Gandhi said.

The Union Ministry of Animal Husbandry has issued an advisory for prevention of LSD. This includes banning the movement of animals from infected areas and restricting the movement of people handling the infected animals.

The government advisory on vaccination requires infected villages to be identified and ring vaccination to be carried out in a five-km radius of the infected village.

Besides vector control measures, such as spraying of insecticides, repellents and chemical agents, the government has also advised mass awareness campaign to prevent further spread of the disease.

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Published on October 13, 2020
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